By the County Court of Middlesex.
NEW ENGLAND in its early days was governed by a theocracy; that is to say, by its clergymen. Even the magistrates were virtually appointed by the stern and godly pastors who, having won freedom of worship for themselves, were determined that no one else should have any other sort of freedom than they prescribed.
When any persons had the temerity to stay away from the Puritan services they were likely to be haled before the magistrates and punished both for non-attendance and for "schismatical" tendencies.
This account gives the proceedings against three who stayed away from the Puritan church and were tried by the county court sitting at Cambridge on April 17, 1666. In 1691, William III reorganized the country, abolished the religious qualification for voting, and established toleration (except with regard to Papists), thus overthrowing the temporal power of the clergy.
THOMAS GOOLD, Thomas Osburne and John George being presented by the grand jury of this county for absenting themselves from the public worship of God on the Lord's day for one whole year now past, alleged respectively as followeth, viz.:
Thomas Osburne answered, that the reason of his non-attendance was, that the Lord hath discovered unto him from his word and spirit of truth that the society, wherewith he is now in communion, is more agreeable to the will of God, asserted that they were a church and attended the worship of God together, and do judge themselves bound so to do, the ground whereof he said he gave in the general court.
Thomas Goold answered, that as for coming to public worship they did meet in public worship according to the rule of Christ, the grounds whereof they had given to the court of assistants, asserted that they were a public meeting, according to the order of Christ Jesus gathered together.
John George answered, that he did attend the public meetings on the Lord's day where he was a member; asserted that they were a church according to the order of Christ in the gospel, and with them he walked and held communion in the public worship of God on the Lord's day.
Whereas at the general court in October last, and at the court of assistants in September last endeavors were used for their conviction. The order of the general court declaring the said Goold and company to be no orderly church assembly and that they stand convicted of high presumption against the Lord and his holy appointments was openly read to them and is on file with the records of this court.
The court sentenced the said Thomas Goold, Thomas Osburne and John George, for their absenting themselves from the public worship of God on the Lord's days, to pay four pounds fine, each of them, to the county order. And whereas by their own confessions they stand convicted of persisting in their schismatical assembling themselves together, to the great dishonor of Cod and our profession of his holy name, contrary to the act of the general court of October last prohibiting them therein on penalty of imprisonment, this court doth order their giving bond respectively in 20 pounds each of them, for their appearance to answer their contempt at the next court of assistants.
The above named Thomas Goold, John George, and Thomas Osburne made their appeal to the next court of assistants, and refusing to put in security according to law were committed to prison.
DE SOTO discovered the Mississippi River more than a hundred years before Marquette, but nothing came of his discovery. Marquette, accompanied by Joliet, prepared excellent maps and wrote descriptions of the new country, and as a result of their explorations, others followed who developed the Mississippi Valley.
They were four months on their expedition, during which time they paddled their canoes over 2500 miles. Marquette kept a daily record of their explorations, but his papers were lost on the return voyage up the Mississippi. He afterwards prepared from memory an account of their expedition, published under the title, "Travels and Discoveries in North America," from which this account is taken.
I EMBARKED with M. Joliet, who had been chosen to conduct this enterprise, on the 13th May, 1673, with five other Frenchmen, in two bark canoes. We laid in some Indian corn and smoked beef for our voyage. We first took care, however, to draw from the Indians all the information we could, concerning the countries through which we designed to travel, and drew up a map, on which we marked down the rivers, nations, and points of the compass to guide us in our journey. The first nation we came to was called the Folles-Avoines, or the nation of wild oats. I entered their river to visit them, as I had preached among them some years before. The wild oats, from which they derive their name, grow spontaneously in their country.
I acquainted them with my design of discovering other nations, to preach to them the mysteries of our holy religion, at which they were much surprised, and said all they could to dissuade me from it. They told me I would meet Indians who spare no strangers, and whom they kill without any provocation or mercy; that the war they have one with the other would expose me to be taken by their warriors, as they are constantly on the look-out to surprise their enemies. That the Great River was exceedingly dangerous, and full of frightful monsters who devoured men and canoes together, and that the heat was so great that it would positively cause our death. I thanked them for their kind advice, but told them I would not follow it, as the salvation of a great many souls was concerned in our undertaking, for whom I should be glad to lose my life. I added that I defied their monsters, and their information would oblige us to keep more upon our guard to avoid a surprise. And having prayed with them, and given them some instructions, we set out for the Bay of Puan, where our missionaries had been successful in converting them. . . . The next day, being the 10th of June, the two guides [Miamies] embarked with us in sight of all the village, who were astonished at our attempting so dangerous an expedition. We were informed that at three leagues from the Maskoutens, we should find a river which runs into the Mississippi, and that we were to go to the west-south-west to find it, but there were so many marshes and lakes, that if it had not been for our guides we could not have found it.